tv Politics Nation MSNBC December 28, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
>> is the president setting up house speaker john boehner here for a majority of the house vote? >> that's the real question right now. right now, the focus is on the senate. what does harry reid do? does he blink obama's plan to the floor or try to work with mcconnell in this 11th hour. you will have a tough vote for many house republicans. if that level is at 250 and it includes unemployment, make it so republicans may not. >> joy, do you think we have a deal? >> you know, ill'm still very dubious. but if there is a deal, it will be with a majority of democrats in the house and there's a political risk for boehner in that. >> thank you. you've been watching "hardball." we'll be back in one hour with an all-new live edition.
until then, "politics nation" starts rite now. >> thanks, richard. thanks to you for tuning in. breaking news, president obama urges congress to make a deal to overt the fiscal cliff. he announces no deal, but progress may be in sight. >> and that would be the wrong thing to do for our e con mu. it would be bad for middle class families and bad for businesses that depend on family spending. fortunately, congress can prevent it from happening if they act right now. i just had a good and constructive discussion here at the white house about how to prevent this tax hike on the middle class. and i'm optimistic we may still be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time. senators reid and mcconnell are working on such an agreement as we speak.
>> it comes after speaker boehner left the white house. he didn't say anything to reporters and neither did anyone else who was seen leaving the meeting. here's what we do know. in just four days, taxes will go up on millions. and millions more will have their vital unemployment benefits run out. that's why president obama organized the meeting with vice president biden, speaker boehner, nancy pelosi and senators reid and mcconnell. he urged them to extend jobless benefits. we can deal with cuts to defense and domestic programs later. but let's take care of the
middle and working class right now. give them assurance right now. joining me is congressman chief ellison. he's co-chair of the progressive caucus and melissa harris perry, host of the melissa harris perry show here on msnbc. thank you both for coming on the show. >> thank you, al. >> congressman, let me go to you first, this deal comes down to taxing the rich. how can they not realize this is what the country wants? >> i don't think that the republican leadership cares what the country wants. i think they care about what their biggest donors want and their big donors want to reorganize america so that -- because they believe that the rich don't have enough money and the poor have too much. so what we're hearing here is an expression of an et you logical idea that we need american society to be cost competitive with places like china.
that means giving rich people even more money. and we're not going to standby. >> as i was listening to the president's statement, when he said that he appealed to them, he brought them together, there was some progress. but he also says if it goes over the deadline, he's calling only senator reid to call for an up and down vote. explain the significance of that. s isn't that really based on the fact that the public has said in numerous polls their support of this isn't that really a roll call to the american public on who stands where? >> yes, as a matter of fact, what the president is saying is he needs the american people to commu communicate with their elected representatives and let those elected representatives know that the people want to see a deal that is fair to the working and middle class people. that's what the president is saying. i think the president is correct to do so. and i think that the -- you
know, that senator reid has been really clear. we should be there working hard to get a fair bargain. and i'm glad the president is basically turning up the temperature. >> see, that's what i read, melissa. i think that one was to update the public. but another is to say if they play passed the deadline, you get in touch with your senator because i'm going to have them call the roll. >> well, so, part of it is about that public pressure. but the other part of it, when the president calls on speaker boehner to do that, what he's saying is speaker boehner, put the good of the country before your job. the majority is all of the democrats and a few republicans, enough to get it through. but boehner, as a speaker, does not want to bring anything to the house floor for a vote that
does not have a majority su port of the repub lip can party. he doesn't want that because he knows that that means the end of his speaker ship. right? >> but i think that's why he's calling on reid to do it in the senate because reid in the senate could win an up and down vote and those senators that have to be -- that want to have it both ways would have to have a real problem with an up and down vote. >> we know that the senate, unlike the house, the sfat henas this history of sort of being a gentlemen's club. it's suppose to be more of a dlib rative body. so by asking the senate to do it, he's also calling on them. he's saying you have a longer time horizon. >> congressman, i think people understand how serious this is. if you're on unemployment
insurance that will be cut off on the 31st and that was your income, that you invested in, by the way, it's very serious. if you don't have a lot of savings, which most americans don't, it's easy to say oh, we can deal with it retroactive. you cannot go back and give money to people that can't survive the adjustment by government. this is very serious for working people and lower middle class people. >> you're absolutely right. this is a very serious matter. we need to work earnestly. the house members should be in washington. no reason to wait until sunday night. but i do want to say wup thing, al, and i think this is very important. one of the things that the house leadership is counting on is that we are so attuned to how serious this is that they're going to try to ram anything down our throat. now, let me tell you, we need a deal. we need a good deal. we need a fair deal.
but we can't take any deal because this is a serious matter. we need to make sure that they don't make the poorest, vulnerable people pay for this thing. when they're talking about c cutting social security, i'm not guilty with that program. 2 million people's unemployment and a lot of other things -- sandy, help for sandy victims is all on the line here. we've got to get something done. >> i keep hearing this sad sacrifice like we had shared prosperity. there is no shared when i've never shared the prosperity and i'm going to help pay for a tab for a meal i wasn't invited to. >> rev, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth in this country. but the problem is, the story line from the right that that redistribution is somehow from the well ti to the poor, exactly the opposite. we have seen a massive redistro
bugs. this is actually not a time for shared sacrifice because the burdens of this economic downturn have fallen so disproportionately. this is a time for patriotism. by those i mean those who have the most and who have reaped the most benefits from this nation over the past 30 years, now, in order to keep this nation on the credit rating that it has, in ord ir to keep us moving forward so that workers have enough to feed thechblgs and their families, the patriotic thing for them to do is to pay their fair share. >> when you look at the fact, congressman, this president has repeatedly tried to be bipartisan, point of republicans to key administration, no matter what he's done, they've still tried in any way they could to undermine him.
i'm looking at grover norquist who says we had an election. boehner was elected speaker. now lame duck obama should get over it. first of all, boehner wasn't elected peeker. and he's also implying that the president doesn't have a mandate. it's the president and the democrats who won the election. the president won by 5 million votes. democrats expanded their majority in the senate and the house democrats earned 1.4 34i8on votes than the gop candidates. boehner is e let the record reflect elected by the republican caucus. this is what makes me not know what they'll do. >> when i said in the top of the show, who's pulling thestri ini
are the big donors. these people don't care if we go over the fiscal deadline. that's why they're so cavalier about it. they are trying to redistribute this country's wealth along the lines of more fuel for the wealthy. i think we've got to resist this because what they're trying to do is really make it so that the average american worker is cost competitive with the average chinese worker. we can't have that. we've got to have a society that really reflects the true wealth of the whole nation, which working class people produsz. my point is this is a time for us to be earnest and serious. but it's a time for us to stand up. and i think the president sent the right signal to the average american person. >> he did that. let me show you this. let me show you this, where he -- i was hardened at this tough stance he did right here. listen to this. >> i just have to repeat.
outside of washington, nobody understands how it is that this seems to be a repeat pattern over and over again. ordinary folks who do their jobs, they meet deadlines. they sit down and they discuss things and then things happen. if there are disagreements, they sort through the disagreements. the notion that our elected leadership can't do the same thing is mind boggling to them. it needs to stop. >> that's the real point, melissa. it's mind boggling. and i think people in the beltway and some people in media are so busy talking to each other, they don't understand. when you're dealing with millions of people's unemployment insurance, millions of people's checks going up in terms of taxes and down in terms of income, this is serious. and everybody is sitting around
comfortable saying if it goes oaf the cliff it won't be that bad. it won't be ha bad for you, but it will be disastrous for many americans. >> this is why approval rating is at historic lows. just as the president said, americans can't figure out why when you're in a circumstance when i, as a taxpayer and paying fur your health insurance and you don't have to worry about retirement, mr. congressman, because i know what you have on the back end, and your job is secure even though you take a holiday break. but i had to work on christmas day because i am a worker who earns five or six or seven dollars an hour as a domestic worker. ordinary people, at their kitchen tables, understand not only what this fiscal cliff is. but i think part of what the representative is telling us here, we have to be really clear about is what republicans would like to do is hold the country's long term hostage on the short term. and it's critical the democrats, no matter how important it is to
get a deal done, don't get the wrong deal done. they've goth to make sure that a fair deal happens. >> thank you, i'm going to let you guys keep going on this because i really want to help bring this home. congressman and thank you, melissa harris perry, thank you both for your time this evening. and happy new year to both of you. but don't forget to tune in to melissa harry-perry saturdays and sundays at the 10:00 a.m. hour, here, eastern time on msnbc. coming up, more on the president's comments on the fiscal cliff negotiations and politics over people. republicans bring the country to the brink again. and millions of unemployed americans are nervously waiting. and what a year it's been. the votes are in. we have the "politics nation" picture of the year coming up. you're watching "politics nation" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] it's that time of year again.
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president obama gets tough and there's progress. but why should it come to this? 2 million unemployed are nervous for their futures. that's next. so now i can be in the scene. advair is clinically proven to help significantly improve lung function. unlike most copd medications, advair contains both an anti-inflammatory and a long-acting bronchodilator working together to help improve your lung function all day. advair won't replace fast-acting inhalers for sudden symptoms and should not be used more than twice a day. people with copd taking advair may have a higher chance of pneumonia.
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you will think that we're poised to grow in 2013, as long as politics continue to grow. >> we've got to get this done. president obama driving home just how serious this cliff could be for real americans. this isn't is a political game. it's real life. nearly everyone will feel the impact if we go over. but none more than the poor and middle class. a family of four earning about $33,000 a year will see their taxes go up $3,700. this is real. it's money they need to feed their families. and money used to get to work. maybe to save for clenl. what about the americans struggling the find work? 2 million people will lose
unemployment benefits. 2 million americans will be left to suffer. and why? because speaker boehner can't get his caucus in line? and then refuse to raise taxes on the top earners? republicans want to play politics, but this isn't a game. and they're playing with people's lives. joining me now, dr. james peterson, professor at lehigh yumpb university and an msnbc contributor. thank you both for being here. >> james, let me start with you. raising taxes on the 34middle class and letting unemployment insurance expire, does the gop get that real people will be genuinely hurt? >> i'm not sure if the gop understands what the impact of the fiscal cliff and what these discussions are going to be. you can tell by what they're to
kused on. we talk so much about what the tax cuts are going to be for the top rate on the top earners because that's what the gop is so much invested in defending. >> if those tax cuts go away, that's going to have a really, really negative effect on our economy. here's how, rev. one of the things we don't talk enough about is this whole consumer maif yor. and once we start to directly impablgt consumer's confidence and go out and buy everything, tha is going to have a severe effect on our economy. >> we've seen consumer confidence go down already. >> there's right. >> i was on morning joe this morning and something that was said that really, really startled me. listen to this.
>> half of the americans are what they've taken to calling financially frazle. they couldn't come up with $2,000 if they needed to come up with it, without selling belongings, without taking out a payday loan, without going to some sort of rather desperate measures. >> half of the american people couldn't put their hands on $2,00$2, $2,000 without reaching out. i mean, how do you hold on if all you can put your hands on is $1500, $2,000, half of america. >> reverend, i could have scratched my head and said what are republicans doing? do they sit out their front door and talk to their constituency? you're talking about head start
programs, you're talking about unemployment benefits. you're talking about a self inflicting wound that can be sidestepped and coming togts working as adults. everybody is trying to make new year's resolutions, one shouldn't be worried if they're going to put food on the table or buy supplies tr their kids. this is very serious. and people are getting hurt. the fact that the republy cican party, make sure that you do an up or down vote. look, american people, these are the folks who are not working for you. >> james, watch this. where the president said, and i really took note of this, if they don'tdeadline, i'm going to call on senate tor reid to call an up or down vote. >> if an agreement isn't reached
in time between senator reid and senator mcconnell, then i will urge senator reid to bring to the floor a basic package for an up or down vote. one that extends the vital lifeline of unemployment insurance to 2 million americans looking for a job. and lays the ground work for future cooperation on more economic growth and deficit reduction. >> now, that's a little different i. the president is saying he's going to urge the senate majority leader to go in an up or down vote which really rallies the country to call on their senators. and when he referred to unemployment insurance and unemployed people looking for work, the benefits that are set to expire, expire, now, are lifelines for people who work. 2 million people we're talking about. average check they receive is $320 per week. benefits goes to those who have been unemployed more than 6
months. every dollar in unemployment benefit translates to $1.10 in additional economic activity. these people have been out of work. these are people that invested in unemployment insurance, been out of work over 6 months. depend on this $320 a week. it expires unless a deal is made. that's why this is cig nif kant. and the president is saying let's make this happen or call the roll. >> it's time for a reckoning. the reckoning has to occur in a couple of different ways. the president is going to use his bully pulpit as he did just a few moments ago to continue to apply pressure both to the senate and the house to try to get a deal done.
when you talk about 40% of the 5 million, we're talking about going hungry. while we've been focused, we have to also remember there are people in the country, poor folk, unemployed folk, working class folk that are struggling right now. and to remove some of the disposable income at this critical juncture is not going to affect confidence. it affects the stability of people who live in this country. >> when you look at the plan that would raise taxes on just 0.3% of households. it cut from food stamps, medicaid and health care. they voted that down. how do these people -- >> i'm talking about members of congress, that are on the right wing, far right to vote this down and they go home to christmas singing all kientz of a carols, how do you do that and vote this to the people that are the most vulnerable to protect
people that it wouldn't bother at all to pay their fair share. >> they pass and prevent the fiscal cliff because you're talking about the working class families. you're talking about middle class families that, all of the sudden, are going to get stuck in the sense that they're not getting redriblted the wealth. they're going to congress and saying we represent the one percent. that's unheard of. unfortunately, we get a party that comes together and say we recognize that we're here for all americans. and how do we do that? the idea that americans who go hungry is unacceptable. >> the republicans need to represent the red states. if you lookographics of the red states. represent the state that is you're from. >> no, and ip think that that is
why if it comes to that, and i hope it does not, the roll call is in order because people in those red states need to understand what is at stake and who stood where. it's an old civil rights song. what side are you on. if it comes to that, that's exactly what the american people need to say, not to democrats, not to republicans, but to american people. that's who's going to be impacted by this. when you don't give your un employment check, when your payroll tax goes up, when your paycheck is not what it was, that's going to be to the american people. we will then have the bipartisanship because everybody is going to suffer together. >> you better believe it. >> and the republicans keep saying they're worried for the 2014 vote. well, let's get a vote and think of what's going to happen in 2014. >> dr. james peterson and maria theresa, thanks for your time tonight. both of you have a happy new
year: >> thanks, reverend. happy new year to you, too. >> whoever said the republicans haven't accomplished anything, they are finishing something in first place today. >> "politics nation" has voted and we have the top political picture of the year. it's a good one. that's next. [ laughter ] smoke? nah, i'm good. ♪
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have you joined the "politics nation" on facebook yet? we hope you will. today, we polled all of our fans to find out the most popular political photo of 2012. there was this classic shot of vice president biden making friends with a female biker in ohio. i love that one. and who can forget this one of romney posing at burrito restaurant. one employee sure looks surprised. this was the one heartwarming gabby giffords on the stage at the dnc. what a moment. and here's another classic. the picture of president obama posing with u.s. gymnast making the not-impressed-face. but the hour of "politics nation" family voted for this one the best. who can forget president obama getting a great big bear hug
from a one-time republican pizza shop owner in florida. look at that. he says it's the best of the year. it shows how republicans can reach across the aisle. and shelly says i met the owner of the pizza shop. great guy. great pizza. we want to hear what you think, too. please head over to facebook and search "politics nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.
just a short time ago, the president slammed congress for consistently taking us to the brink. >> the american people are watching what we do here. obviously, their patience is already thinned. this is deja vu all over again. america wonders why it is that in this town, for some reason, you can't get stuff done in organized timetable.
why everything always has to wait until the last minute. we're at the last minute. the american people are not going to have any patience for a politically self-inflicted wound. nobody understands how it is that this seems to be a repeat pattern over and over again. >> ordinary folks, they do their jobs. they meet deadlines. they sit down and they discuss things and then things happen. if there are disagreements, they sort through the disagreements. the notion that our elected leadership can't do the same thing is mind boggling to them. it needs to stop. >> it must stop. but unfortunately, we're used to the republicans in congress taking us to the edge. their number one goal was to defeat president obama. they can't say the word compromise. for two years, they've held the middle class hostage.
it's been nothing but obstruction. filibustering. pretty much the worse congress ever. literally. check this out. amanda at "the huffington post requests ran the numbers and found the current congress is on track to be the most unproductive since the 1940s. >> who ever said the republicans haven't accomplished anything. the do-nothing congress truman talked about? they got over 906 bills signed into law. how about speaker newt gingrich's congress. 333 bills signed into law. your congress has just 219 bills signed into law.
>> the american people are sick of it. joining me now is clarence page, columnist for the chicago tribune. thank you both for being here. >> i'm glad to be here. thanks for having me. >> ryan, this "huffington post" story got a lot of coverage. >> it's as dysfunctional as anything we had in the modern era. it's great that amanda ran the traps on that. what she found is dozens of these bills managed simply renamed federal bills or post offices. so, in some ways, their accomplishments are even overstated. so, you know, it's just -- it's just been an awful two years from congress and the american
people's opinion of it is right. i think it has an eight or nine or ten percent approval rating and that's probably generous. >> gallup says they're 68% on if fiscal cliff, but clarence page, you covered congress. you covered the hill in washington for some time better than -- >> long time, yeah. >> better than most that i've known. have you ever seen a congress like this? and do you think that it is that they are so etiological? >> on the republican side, you'll have a lot of tea party folks and others who are worried about being challenged in primaries coming up in 2014. and they don't produce anything,
that's fine. the more they block things, the better. and especially when it comes to anything involving raising taxes. they don't want to raise any taxes because they can see the attack ads already. and they're districts, i'm talking about in the house, in particular. you've got districts that have been carved. there's only half a dozen republicans in the house. i think that's mentioned in the article. there's only about six republicans in the house that are in districts that are friendly to democrats. the rest are pretty solidly republican districts and they don't lose any points by holding the line on taxes. and what hasn't been talked about enough is the effect on wall street, the 401 (k)s that a lot of those republicans have that are affected by government cutbacks. that's the side that voters like. the government services that they get. and those are going to be cut back, too.
i don't think the fiscal cliff problem hit social security or medicare right away. they kind of sealed that off from se questions ration. but you mentioned unemployment before. there are a variety of other government programs that will be drastically cut back on tuesday morning if we don't get some kind of a deal by monday night. >> you know, ryan, when you look at -- when clarence was talking,ives looking and i think i have it. bills that republicans and congress have blocked this year. a bill that would have increased the minimum wage, a buffet rule bill, the employment, nondis crimination act that would have prohibited hiring people on the basis of sexual orientation. a u.n. treaty to protect the rights of disabled people around the world and the paycheck famous act so that women don't get paid less than men for doing the same job. i mean, there's been a variety of bills that they have seen not
go past. they have actually stopped in a variety of ways that would have helped the american people. >> yeah, and you can throw the violence against women act, reauthorization onto that list. they're letting that one languish. it's not that they don't know how to pass bills or they don't like passing laws. they voted to repeal obama care more than 30 times. >> yeah, 33 times. >> 33 times, as if there's some type of rule that if the house passes a bill more than two dozen times. so they know how to bring a bill to florida and they know how to vote on it. but i think clarence is right. that some of this is ie dee logical. and the second least productive congress since the 1940s was gingrich's right after the '94 revolution. u you know, they came in. they don't think government works and then they set about and they prove it. >> now, clarence, despite all of this, the president is saying he's optimistic.
listen to this. >> i'm modest ply optimistic th an agreement can be achieved. nobody is going to get a hundred percent of what they want. but let's make sure that middle class families and the american economy and, in fact, the world economy aren't adversely impacted because people can't do their jobs. >> are you optimistic, clarence? >> well, at this point, i'm so pessimistic by getting a deal on monday, it's just too short of a time. we're probably going to go over the cliff and then start bargaining back. and then republicans go back and say hey, i tried to stop the tax cuts or i tried to get -- or save the tax cuts. but this is what we could get. i was out there fighting for you. that's how you win reelection. >> now, ryan, if, in fact, we go over the cliff, they go back
home, they make these political statements to their constituents, they come back and pass something in the interim, some people are damaged, the most vulnerable damaged, will there be, do you feel, a political price to pay? or do they think by the time 14 comes around, it will be all forgotten? >> i mean, that's a good question. it's so hard to know, you know, what the landscape is going to be like in 14. f but there's no question that republicans are going to take a hi and they know that they're going to take a hit if this goes over the cliff. in fact, they've already taken a hit just for dragging it up. polls show that overwhelmingly, people will blame republicans for the negative consequences of this. actually, the unemployed are already getting hit. it inspires today. they don't get until january 1st. so for them, the cliff came early. so at this point, they're over. now it's up to the rest of the
things, the tax cuts, the sequestration, et cetera. the president has been the most 079 mystic person. and if even he's describing himself as modestly optimistic, that's trouble. >> well, clarence, and ryan, thank you for your time tonight. and happy new year. you almost don't want to say happy, but have a healthy new year. given these circumstances. it's quite an end to a year. >> thank you. >> coming up, 2012 was a year full of wins for progressives. it was the year the rich couldn't buy. we're looking back on a year of progress. stay with us. ♪
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how are you spening your new year's eve? hopefully, with us. join us for the revvie awards. a year end show where we give out awards for the high and low points in politics for the year. it was a lot of fun. and i can promise you surprises. we even dressed up for the occasion. join us monday night at 6:00
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> finally tonight, 2012 brought us many challenges. but it as was a remarkable year for progress. it was the year lib rals fought back and won. the big one defeating right wing voters su proegs. 31 states considered voter id laws. some lawmakers were brazen about their real intent. >> voter id, which is going to allow governor romney to win the state of pennsylvania, done. >> no, sir, not done. president obama took pennsylvania. and with each new attempt at suppression, we fought back. rallying. educating and registering people
to vote across the country on election day. these were the striking pictures. lines as long as seven hours. but voters made sure to have their voices heard. the resolve of the american people determined the direction we wanted this nation to go. not everyone had an easy time accepting the news though. >> do you believe that ohio has been settled? >> no, i don't. >> so you're not saying that obama isn't going to win. >> i think this is premature. we've got a quarter of the vote. >> we won't forget carl roves epic on-air melt down. i guess that's what happens when you blow $300 million trying to winn win an election. the republicans money machine, 2012 was simply the year the rich couldn't buy. and it was a year full of wins, none bigger than this. >> the bottom line here is the
supreme court has upheld the health care case. >> well, we have a health care law in tact. >> obama care unheld. a day to remember. and on issue after issue, progressives fought back. after 32 straight defeats at the ballot box, marriage equality won in reign. won in maryland, won in washington. 2012 was the year we waved good-bye to some tea party radicals. allen west, joe walsh and richard murdauch was sent packing. >> if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. >> as a country, we stood up for women and women's rights. a record 20 women were sent to the senate, including this one. >> wall street krerceos, the sa ones who wrecked our economy and
destroyed millions of jobs, still strut around congress, no shame, demanding favors and acting like we should thank them. does anyone here have a problem with that? well, i do, too. i do, too. >> yes, look out. here comes elizabeth warren. and then this happened on live tv. >> what do you want me to tell romney? i can't tell him. he can't do that to himself. >> sorry, clint. the empty chair won. but more than anything, 2012 was about fairness. it was the year of the great american debate of what kind of country we should be. what role government should play. americans voted for compassionate, hopeful and clear
view. it was the year for the immigrants and the middle class and the poor. and it was an honor to be there to bring it to you. our "politics nation" family all yearlong. from reenacting dr. martin luther king's march from voter rights to broadcasting from dexter avenue when dr. king preached during the civil rights movement, to fighting for justice in florida, for young teen gunned down named travon martin. this year, americans showed the desire that people must be heard. and that is progress. no matter how much the resources were, if i were marching in florida or rallying in ohio or standing in maryland, i saw an enthusiasm of people saying we can't be bought, we can't be bossed. whether you